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day 17 – tales from the bus, act 1

November 17, 2008


In the half hour it takes for me to get to work via bus and subway, I am the silent observer.

I tune into my music and spend my commute in a movie-like state, with my own little soundtrack.  I sometimes read but for the most part, I’m too fascinated by the world around me.  I see forlorn frames and scenes filled with beauty.  Extras board the bus and disembark, each playing their little part.  I see them all.   I don’t stare, I’m too shy to stare and besides, I hear it’s rude.  However I may look at you for a long while until your eyes meet mine, at which point I’ll manage a half assed smile, which pairs perfectly with my beet red face and I’ll look away.  I might even put a finger to my mouth and gaze towards the upper left corner of my mind, feigning a pensive look.  And when something strikes me as funny, I’ll probably dip my face in my scarf to mask the laughter or, if I’m lucky, I’ll find someone who is willing to share a smile.

Today’s feature presentation went something like this.

Soundtrack (Depending on the day, I’ll either put it on shuffle and let fate dictate what I need to hear that morning or I’ll be a little more selective, matching the music to the scene that is playing out in front of me.)

Death Cab for Cutie – Marching Bands of Manhattan
Patrick Watson – The Great Escape
Coldplay – Warning Sign
Radiohead – Videotape
The Postal Service – Suddently Everything Has Changed

Act 1: November morning in 2008, on the 535

A flock of black birds against a cyan sky reflected in the window of the bus behind us, a bridge tinted orange by dawn’s yawning sun, a long line of cars, a girl with java in a red paper cup, a boy studying at the corner of Pine & Parc, a black dog with one blue eye, a hot guy with funky dreads, an old man with hands a maze of wrinkles, his face a creased map, a big black woman talking to herself on the way up the escalator, a homeless man crossing the street in jeans soaked with his own urine.

The bus tells tales, whispers of a thousand inner voices subconsciously expressed through subtle gestures, looks, sighs.  Lives crisscrossing, everyone living different realities, different worries, different pains, different joys… and yet we are all on the same bus.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Alison permalink
    November 18, 2008 6:19 am

    I love when you do posts like this. “We’re all on the same bus”. Yep, I guess we are. People watching is fascinating isn’t it? Looking forward to Act 2.

  2. November 19, 2008 10:54 am

    There was something really fantastic about riding the bus in Montreal. I remember when I moved there and would take the bus to school I was shocked that it was always crowded. I mean ALWAYS. That never happened in Calgary. At first I thought, “don’t you people have to work? why are you all on the bus in the middle of the day?” but then I realized that crowded daytime buses represented all that was beautiful in Montreal. In Calgary the bus is crowded during rush hour and only teenagers or the unemployed are on the bus during other times – in Montreal the city is always alive and always working and people always have somewhere to go. I miss that about Montreal.

  3. November 20, 2008 6:49 pm

    🙂 beautiful … echoing thoughts of my own bus travels


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